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Hennepin Technical College program receives national recognition

Students part of the Ford ASSET program at Hennepin Technical College are spending their last day of class before the holiday break working on transmissions. Photo: Jessica Miles
Students part of the Ford ASSET program at Hennepin Technical College are spending their last day of class before the holiday break working on transmissions.

Updated: November 21, 2019 06:56 PM

Students, who are part of the Ford ASSET program at Hennepin Technical College, are spending their last day of class before the Thanksgiving holiday break working on transmissions.

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The Ford ASSET program is one of 38 in the country.

"We cover everything from the Ford Fiesta to the Super Duty. Students get certified and trained in diesel auto transmission, advanced electronics, hybrid electric vehicles, every Ford vehicle that is out there from the Super Duty down to the latest entry-level vehicle," said Ford ASSET instructor, Drew Goddard.

Goddard graduated from the program more than 30 years ago. He worked in the industry, then returned 23 years later to teach.

Ford has honored the program as the top in the nation when it comes to enrollment. Goddard said he texted all his students when he learned of the honor.

"They were very surprised, and I said you're part of an elite group and you should be proud of this," he shared.

The college said the recognition signifies great instructors and exceptional training.

"Instead of depending on donations, and the program paying for vehicles, we're getting new $40,000 to $70,000 vehicles donated for the students to work on, so it's the latest technology we are training on with the latest vehicles," said instructor Brian Friede.

Students spend half of each of their six semesters in the classroom. The other half is paid on the job experience, working with mentors at Ford dealerships around the Upper Midwest.

"The dealership is making a commitment to train that student as they go through, so when they are in their co-op working with journeymen, they are getting hands-on experience," said Friede.

"It's the mentorship at the dealership where the strength of the program is," Goddard added.

There are 38 students currently enrolled, which is maximum capacity, and that's something the program has done consistently over the years.

"We look out for each other and we help each other, so these guys out here will be mentors to future Ford ASSET students, and that's where the strength of it is," said Goddard.

Austin Haycraft admitted he never really loved school but said this program changed that.

"I've never wanted to get up in the morning and drive an hour to come to a class, it's just amazing to me," Haycraft said.

He plans to work as a diesel technician after he graduates from the program next year.

"It's really a great honor to be a part of this program, I know I am going to be able to apply this for the rest of my life," he said.

Friede also graduated from the program and said the greatest accomplishment is going out to all the dealerships from Montana to Wisconsin and seeing his former students and hearing about their success.

"That really makes us feel successful, that we did something good," he said.

Students come from all over the region to be a part of the program, and there is 100 percent placement of students after they graduate.

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Credits

Jessica Miles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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